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High Voltage

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High Voltage

Published 1929

A busload of passengers gets stranded in a snowstorm and take refuge in an abandoned church, where they run into a mysterious man who may be on the run from the law.

Run time 63 min
Producer Ralph Block
Production Company Pathé Exchange
Audio/Visual sound, black & white
Contact Information


Reviewer: billbarstad - favoritefavoritefavorite - July 21, 2011
Subject: Low Wattage
Drama needs conflict, and this nice metaphor for the period of hard times this country was entering in 1929 has little. The dialog is ho hum, and the acting by the principals, generally quite good, verges unnecessarily into the melodramatic at times. I liked the ending, including William Boyd's short speech to Carol Lombard.

I downloaded the 589MB AVI file. Video quality was good, though a little fuzzy. The audio quality, for the times, was good and clear. I had trouble understanding some dialog, but considering its blandness, after a while I didn't care.
Reviewer: nvlschr - favorite - July 18, 2011
Subject: Highly forgettable
Badly acted and badly directed early talkie. Public bus gets stuck in the snow in the middle of nowhere. Passengers are forced to take refuge in a deserted old church house nearby. A wanted crook is hiding in the church and joins the group. One of the passengers is a convicted lady crook who conspires with him. Together they plan but do not act out an escape. End of story. And end of a very dreary hour…

Most hilarious moment is the bus getting jammed in the snow . Some of the worst acting and most inconceivable dialogues I’ve ever come across in a motion picture. Never mind the poor sound techniques, if you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all. Adults behaving like children. Some sparkling is seen in the crooks ‘love scene’ towards the end. Everything else is highly forgettable.
Reviewer: Dr Feel Rotten - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 21, 2011
Subject: Good flick worth watching!
The moral is Pollyanna-ish in my old opinion. People don't just decide after the cop lets them go to turn themselves in when they can get away because NOBODY benefits after doing jail time or prison time especially in todays world. Prison today it nothing short of torture no matter what the old movies might tell you. They're extremely violent places run by some of societies worse people, guards. Nice people with morals don't run prisons anymore. They're brutal oppressors and crushers of souls and it's designed that way.
We're lead to believe jail teaches a good lesson, but the fact of the matter is it makes people bitter and hateful towards society. When you've been institutionally oppressed there is no other way to feel.
Believe the Pollyanna story of how going to jail and prison will make men and women out of people and I'll sell you some nice ocean front, mountain side property in the dead of Nebraska.
Aside from that sad fact this is still a good movie. I did expect Carol Lombard at one point to say, "Hark! Doth thouest hear an airplane?" So the acting wasn't that great despite it being an early talkie. People did live theater for hundreds of years prior to talkies so where the pass for being an early talkie baffles me. Trained actors, and there were several could have done a much better job. Carol Lombard was really not very good in this one and the dialog was weak with all the "OH yeah?Yeahhh.." stuff going on. Lombard had looks..the same way countless other no-talents have and always will.
The technical side was far better and the cinematography was well done for its time.
I suppose though the debate could rage on and on and there will undoubtedly be some people who will say it;s just old crap, but it wasn't. Despite the weaknesses I saw I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
Reviewer: trilby1989 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 23, 2010
Subject: Don't Touch the Microphones, People!
William Boyd (later Hoppy) and Carol Lombard (in the last year before the -e was added to her first name) are bad boy, bad girl whose love for one another grows and develops as the picture progresses. Each discover that love for someone other than self leads to acceptance of personal responsibility; both realize they must also pay for their past transgressions against humanity before they can feel worthy of love - in other words, they grow up. What a refreshing message this story conveys compared to today's glorification of immaturity!

This 1929 film was an early talkie, and as such, is historically important. The sound is not great, but it is better than I expected; the technicians appear to have learned quickly how to incorporate sound techniques; it would take the writers, actors, and directors longer to learn how to use sound properly. I also found the camerawork to be quite good. The snow scenes (in 1929, with primative photometric equipment) are properly exposed, as are the even more difficult sun+snow+shadow shots in and around the bus and buildings. Good technical people worked on this film; it probably had a huge budget for its time.

The title is baffling. Perhaps (as I've suggested) it is a reference to the high voltage on early condenser microphones that might have been used. It would have been a danger to all on the set.

More likely, however, "High Voltage" refers to the passion that develops between the two lead characters. Unfortunately, this is not really conveyed the way it could have, and later, would have been - nobody really understood the talkie medium yet, and that is the failing of this film; it is uneven and slow in places with stiff silent era acting and direction. The technical work is great for the time and the moral message, baffling I'm sure, to people that have never experienced true uplifting love, is a wonderful rarity. 7/10
Reviewer: kareneliot - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 9, 2010
Subject: One of my favorites
There isn't much to this movie, it's just a group of people that get stranded together during a snowstorm in an abandoned building in the middle of nowhere.

But, what makes this movie great are the well-developed characters, their personalities, their group dynamic and shared experiences.

It really is one of my favorite movies, it reminded me in a very small way of "Lifeboat".

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